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MUSE / MUSEUM 2006-2014 (ongoing)

On the surface this series is "about" artists looking at art and the art world represented in art magazines; deeper down, however, the work contemplates the continuum of art and how artists influence each other. Since 2006 the works have combined my own painted imagery with hand-rendered museum and gallery advertising layouts appropriated from art magazines such as ARTFORUM, ART IN AMERICA and ART NEWS. As an artist looking at the magazines every month and visiting galleries and museums across the country, it's natural, I think, to imagine my own work on the pages and in the spaces. These paintings take the visualization process a step or two further, engaging issues of persona and autonomy at the same time. Advertising, of course, has the multiple task of conveying nuts and bolts information while creating a certain look or "cool factor" for said gallery or museum, and then lending that look to the artist of the moment. To hand-render that information in these paintings not only acknowledges graphic design and advertising as arts in themselves, but raises questions about how that "cool factor" can actually reinforce or compete with the art depicted.

By taking ads from certain institutions that have not to date shown my work and layering hand-drawn renditions over my own images, I signal a certain complicity with the system, acknowledging that the mechanics of presentation can be as important as the images themselves. But what happens if the resulting paintings are "distributed" in a different way, for example in a book or catalog? Or if the museums or galleries whose ads I've appropriated then hang these paintings on their wall? In one regard the paintings would transform from fiction into fact. In another, it might be like looking into a mirrored room: you lose track of what's original and what's reproduction. Whatever the case, there is a certain power-taking that accompanies these appropriations, one that posits the artist not only as director but as producer as well.

While the related 1998 series NAME MATTERS presented my own name among lists of blue-chip artists' names in gallery ads, in MUSE/ MUSEUM the act of layering other artists' names (eg. Warhol, Sherman, Serra) over my own images functions very differently. The combinations acknowledge the continuum of art as well as the influence artists have exerted over each other across centuries. For years I've carried these other artists' bodies of work around in my head. These paintings, in a sense, return the favor.

In 2011 I began to focus some of the work on specific paintings by other artists, in particular works found in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, whose galleries I wandered growing up in the city. As of this writing, my "collection" includes Grant Wood's AMERICAN GOTHIC, Reginald Marsh's TATTOO AND HAIRCUT, Toulouse Lautrec's AT THE MOULIN ROUGE, Jules Breton's SONG OF THE LARK, William Bouguereau's THE BATHERS, and Ivan Albright's INTO THE WORLD THERE CAME A SOUL CALLED IDA, all employing the curatorial information to be found on the museum's wall tags. Included in this mix is the Art Institute's guidebook, THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE, as well. Since 2009 I have been occasionally drawing my own images onto actual magazine pages themselves, and in 2013 began to explore the ideas through photography. Now in 2014 I have begun to position my own photographs next to images from my own collection of photography books.

Within the conceptual framework I've laid out here, one could maintain that almost any of my own images would work combined with the advertising, and so why these particular images of men and not cats, cars or Cheerios? Most easily put, it's these men who are my muse. But beyond that, having grown up in a society whose media and museums have long privileged the nude (or nearly nude) female almost unthinkingly (just ask the Guerrilla Girls), whether it's work by Matisse, Picasso, Wesselmann, Koons or (fill in the blank), I am interested in asserting or inserting this particular muse as counterpoint. As I've stated about my photo series STUDIO MEN, my goal in this work has been to reach beyond whatever stereotypes we might be tempted to assign men so emblematic of today's obsession with youth and beauty (do we think of aloofness, privilege, a certain power structure?) I get to engage these "usual suspects" on a variety of levels, taking them off certain pedestals of perfection and, through portraiture and metaphor, put them back transformed. Their collaboration makes them complicit thus in our viewing of them, but their subsequent vulnerability empowers us at the same time. Can their ultimate defense be their humanity? Muse indeed.

 

click on images for enlargements

 

GEORGIA O'KEEFFE
SKY ABOVE CLOUDS, STUDY 1

 

LE PETIT PALAIS

 


HENRI MATISSE
BATHERS BY A RIVER



NAME MATTERS (SONNABEND)

PHAIDON


  

CAPTAIN'S OFFICE
(For H.C.Westermann)

JEFF WALL 2

   

WILLIAM EGGLESTON

XX  

KEITH HARING:
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

 

REGINALD MARSH
TATTOO AND HAIRCUT

 

LESLIE KRIMS

WALKER EVANS 2

 

JACKSON POLLOCK

Collection of the Brooklyn Museum,
New York

MONET'S WATER LILIES
AN ARTIST'S OBSESSION

  

BILL OWENS

WALKER EVANS 1

KARL BODMER
CROSSING THE MISSOURI

 

 

 

ALWAYS MODERN

Collection of the
Leslie Lohman Gay Art Museum,
New York

 

KISSING THE MOON
(for Winslow Homer)


JOEL MEYEROWITZ
CAPE LIGHT (DOWN THE ROAD)


PAUL DELVAUX
THE LAMPS

GEORGES SEURAT
LA GRANDE JATTE

ANSEL ADAMS

 

  

GERHARD RICHTER:
KLEINER AKT (SMALL NUDE)
sold
xxx




THIS TINY O'KEEFFE

sold

x  

REFLECTIONS IN BLACK

JEFF WALL 1

TOM WESSELMANN
HIS GIRL FRIDAY

CROSSING THE DELAWARE

 

PREDELLA SERIES: LOUVRE--WOULD LIKE

 

PREDELLA SERIES: PANTHEON, JEREMY

 

GRANT WOOD:
AMERICAN GOTHIC
sold
xxx

NORMAN ROCKWELL
KNOCKOUT

  

ST. JOHN BAPTIST, WILDERNESS
BE THERE

 

WILLIAM KENTRIDGE
AN INTERVIEW

 

WILLIAM BOUGUEREAU
THE BATHERS

sold

 

Intervention: Jack Balas @ Janis Kounellis

 

RAYMOND PETTIBON:
ON MY HONOR

  

TOULOUSE LAUTREC
AT THE MOULIN ROUGE

XX

 

Intervention: Jack Balas @ Helga De Alvear

MICHELANGELO
SCOTT ON THE BEACH, OSTIA



ELLSWORTH KELLY

sold
xxx

LOUISE BOURGEOIS
WORKS ON PAPER 

 

Intervention: Jack Balas @ Fred Sandback

KARA WALKER
EASTER SUNDAY
 

JULES BRETON
THE SONG OF THE LARK
  

  

JULIAN SCHNABEL
CHRIST'S LAST DAY

 

  

Intervention: Jack Balas @ BruceNauman


 

PHILIP GUSTON DRAWINGS

  

MY FELIX
(FELIX GONZALEZ-TORRES)
X

IVAN ALBRIGHT
INTO THE WORLD THERE CAME
A SOUL CALLED IDA

Intervention: Jack Balas @ Jack Pierson

ANSELM KIEFER:
NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM
X

sold
xxx

THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE VERY B.
( JERRY SALTZ )



x

13 CRITICS
sold
xxx

 

Intervention:
Jack Balas @ Art in America Cover

WHO WAS GRANT WOOD?

 

NAYLAND BLAKE
EXPULSION FROM THE GARDEN
(RED)

 

NAYLAND BLAKE
EXPULSION FROM THE GARDEN
(BLUE)

 

Intervention: Jack Balas @ Art Basel Miami Beach

 

JOAN MITCHELL
CATALOGUE RAISONNE

 

OLD SCHOOL

 

SUSAN SONTAG 

 

EDWARD HOPPER:
NIGHTHAWKS
x
sold

 

D.A.P.

sold
xxx

 X 

ED RUSCHA (B)USTED (GL)ASS

 

VAN GOGH'S BEDROOM 


THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE
(ART INSTITVTE OF CHICAGO)

 

ALEX KATZ
FACE THE MUSIC

 

 

 

CINDY SHERMAN


BRICE MARDEN
RETROSPECTIVE


TRACEY EMIN 20 YEARS

sold

I LOVE MY SCENE

 


DAVID SMITH
ALEXANDER CALDER

 

 

BEFORE THE REVOLUTION

 

 

LUC TUYMANS REGIME CHANGE

sold
xxx

THE METROPOLITAN
xxx

 

WARHOL'S WORLD

Sold


 


DONALD JUDD
SINGLE STACKS

Sold



ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
IN THE WILDERNESS
(VELASQUEZ)

sold

 

 

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BARBARA KRUGER

Collection Usminas Cultural Institute (Usicultura),
Ipatinga, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
x

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THE GREAT PERSUADER

 

ROBERT RYMAN

 X 

INSTITUTION OF CRITIQUE 


 

RICHARD SERRA
ROLLED AND FORGED

Sold

 

 


ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE
LISA LYON
Collection of the Brooklyn Museum,
New York

 

 

HAMMER MUSEUM
THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY
  

sold
xxx


  

THE WINOGRAND ARCHIVE

sold

 

 

 x

L.A. COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART
40 YEARS OF

Sold

 

JOHN COPLANS

Sold





PAUSE

 



LICHTENSTEIN GIRLS
sold X

 

DONALD JUDD

Sold

 

SHOCK OF THE NEW

Sold

REMBRANDT

 

 

THE SCULPTURES OF PICASSO
(TYGER TYGER BURNING BRIGHT)

sold
xxx

 

  

BALKAN EROTIC EPIC

Sold

 x 

CARNEGIE INTERNATIONAL

CHARLES RAY'S LOG


 

THE NAME MATTERS SERIES
1999

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